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Pixar Releases OpenSubdiv 2.0 with Blender-compatible License

siggraph2013_buttonThe Blender Foundation announced yesterday that Pixar will release their OpenSubdiv 2.0 library with a Blender compatible license at Siggraph!

OpenSubdiv 2.0 is "a set of open source libraries that implement high-performance subdivision surface (subdiv) evaluation on massively parallel CPU and GPU architectures. This codepath is optimized for drawing deforming subdivs with static topology at interactive framerates." (read more here).

What does this mean exactly, and what are the potential advantages for Blender? I asked Ton Roosendaal for some insights.

Ton writes:

OpenSubdiv is Pixar's open source project to handle Subdivision Surface generation and drawing. In Blender this is currently handled by 1 thread only, and it needs to generate the subsurfed data first, before it can draw.

OpenSubdiv instead:

  • allows full threading, including use of GPU
  • creates and draws subsurfed "on the fly", so you don't need to generate/store data
  • has excellent crease support
  • has adaptive (screen space) subdivision
  • supports Ptex natively (non UV texture mapping)

In Cycles OpenSubdiv will replace the incomplete subdivision surface implementation, to enable faster BVH builds and lower memory usage for subdivision surfaces, as well as Ptex rendering support.

Integrating will require a lot of work inside Blender however, so it will take some time before there is an official release with OpenSubdiv support. Especially support for multires and sculpt will be complex. A planning for this work and set of actions still has to be defined.

Nevertheless, Brecht is already on it, and expects to have a first WIP demo of Cycles-OpenSubdiv at Siggraph next week!

Note about the license: OpenSubdivs Apache license is only GPL V3 compatible. Blender is "GPL V2 or later", so that should work fine. However, we do need to check every library we use too, some are still GPL V2 only (like Carve booleans).


  • lsscpp

    This is going to be huge!

  • canaldin

    Wohohohow, I was just reading about the issue some days ago, it is awesome that pixar made this move.

    • Chrome Monkey

      It was really just a matter of time, since Catmull-Clark were Pixar employees and the basic Catmull-Clark subdivision is open-license, but it's great that it's finally gone forward!

  • Reaction

    The more functions that get dumped onto the GPU (like this one), the better it would be if we could choose ATi GPUs. They always seem to get much better 'compute' scores than nVidia cards, but we are currently forced to install nVidia hardware for Cycles. There was some news about this in a previous developer Notes... can't wait for a big announcement!

  • Cenda

    I want it ... I need it :-D

  • Lawrence D’Oliveiro

    Speaking of GPU, I wish Intel would offer better OpenCL support under Linux...

  • FloridaJo

    Interesting that a big shop like Pixar is really embracing the Open Source method.
    Will be very interesting to get PTex in Blender.

    • BigPilot

      Not just Pixar. Dreamworks is releasing OpenVDB under open-soruce as well....

  • artpen

    I can't stress enough how COOL this is. It also means that it will be possible to create very high precision models and export them to NURBS software and back.

  • artpen

    Next step is OpenVDB !

  • Jeff2207

    Thank you Pixar!

  • drichter

    Does this include semi-sharp crease data like in modo? Cause this is a very exciting feature!

  • Karlis Stigis

    I am waiting for this sooo badly! YESYESYES!!!

  • xerula

    My little brain is trying to understand all the implications of this. Could anyone confirm if OpenSubdiv is a way of making the subdivision algorithms we already have (principally Catmull-Clark) more efficiently and flexibly computed / displayed, or will it provide a new subdivision method with different results?

    • xerula

      Nevermind, I read the documentation which states it supports Catmull-Clark, Loop and Bilinear.

  • Moolah

    Thanks, Pixar!

    And Blender dudes - you're rapid! :) It's a surprise that Brecht will soon show us a demo!

  • BigPilot

    "Nevertheless, Brecht is already on it"
    Bless him! I'm really looking forward to this.

  • moomoo

    OpenSubdiv sounds great, but what I'm really excited about is Ptex, which I'd never heard of but had me convinced in 2 minutes that it's incredible (and, incidentally, addresses some issues that I'be veen thinking about lately).

  • Brian Lockett

    A Blender with OpenSubdiv and OpenVDB together? We've seen mentionings about adding these for a good while, but I'm so glad to finally see some of these awesomeness being implemented into Blender! These are both a powerful step forward for Blender.

    • Brian Lockett

      Oh, and Ptex support would be icing on the gooey cake.

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